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NC Department of Health and Human Services Division of Services for the Blind
 
 

Commission for the Blind Meeting Minutes

September 8, 2007

Call to Order, Invocation, and Pledge of Allegiance

Chair Graham Watt called the 291st meeting of the NC Commission for the Blind to order at 10:05 a.m. on Saturday, September 8, 2007, in the conference room of the Division of Services for the Blind, 309 Ashe Avenue, Raleigh, NC.  Members joined in the pledge of allegiance. 

Chair Graham Watt offered the invocation. 

Eddie Weaver was appointed Parliamentarian. 

Chair Graham Watt welcomed everyone and reminded members of the Ethics Awareness and Conflict of Interest order.  If any board member has any known conflict with respect to any matters coming before the Board, please identify the conflict or appearance of conflict and refrain from any undue participation in the particular matter involved.

The following members were present:  Graham Watt, Debbie Jackson, Anita Heath-Cunningham, Tommy Jenkins, Allen Casey, Julie Kagy, Beth Butler, Stacey Milbern, Jay Williams, Kathy Crow, Eddie Weaver, and Terri Meyers. 

Others Present:  David Arthur, Mary Flanagan, Joann Samuels Wood, Dr. Wiggins, Gary Ray, Jan Fesperman, Dr. Fleming, and Dr. Bernstein.

Approval of Minutes

A motion was made by Eddie Weaver, seconded by Anita Heath-Cunningham, and carried to approve the minutes of the June 9, 2007 minutes. 

Committees were appointed and they are listed below:

CONSUMER INFORMATION

Julie Kagy--Chair
Terri Meyers
Anita Heath-Cunningham
Jay Williams

 PUBLIC RELATIONS

Kathy Crow--Chair
Beth Butler
Allen Casey
Eddie Weaver

POLICIES AND PROCEDURES

Terri Meyers--Chair
Kathy Crow
Graham Watt
Allen Casey

INTER-COMMITTEE RELATIONS

Stacey Milbern--Chair
Julie Kagy
Anita Heath-Cunningham

STATE PLAN

Graham Watt--Chair
Tommie Jenkins
Eddie Weaver

ADVOCACY COMMITTEE

Tommie Jenkins—Chair
Graham Watt
Beth Butler

PERSONNEL DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE

Julie Kagy
Kathy Crow
Terri Meyers
Stacey Milbern
Graham Watt
Tommie Jenkins

At the meeting in June, a motion was carried to defer the nominations for a Vice-Chair until the September meeting.  The floor was open for nominations for the Vice Chair of the NC Commission for the Blind. 

Chair Graham Watt nominated Beth Butler for Vice Chair of the NC Commission for the Blind.  A motion was made by Kathy Crow, seconded by Anita Heath-Cunningham, and carried for Beth Butler to be the Commission’s Vice Chair.

Director’s ReportDebbie Jackson

The Department of Health Human Services has a new Secretary, Dempsey Benton.  Carmen Hooker Odom left this position to assume a position in New York. 

Governor Morehead School has a new Director, Mrs. Barbria Bacon.

Legislative Update:  Some of DSB’s programs have an economic needs scale and this scale has not changed in many years. 

In the Vocational Rehabilitation Program, the economic needs scale had been at about 85% of the federal poverty level.  It is now at 125% of the federal poverty level.

For example, in the Rehab Program for a family of one, the old scale was $694 per month and with the new scale, the monthly allowable income is $1,604.

In the Medical Eye Care Program, the economic needs scales had been at 50% of the federal poverty level.  It is now at 125% of the federal poverty level. 

In the Independent Living Rehabilitation Program, the scale also increased to 125% of the federal poverty level.

DSB also received an additional $200,000 in the Vocational Rehabilitation Program--that $200,000 will be matched with federal dollars.  The Medical Eye Care Program received $200,000 but this program is totally State funded so there is not a federal match.  The Independent Living Rehabilitation Program received additional case service money and received funding for 4 additional positions (3 ILR Counselor Positions and 1 Assistive Technology Instruction Position). 

Sally Syria, Chief of Medical Eye Care/Independent Living Services, recently retired after 32 years old service.  The position is being reviewed to determine if the job duties need to be changed.  After that is determined, the position will be posted. 

Renovations—Recently, DSB has renovated its dorms.  Cox Dorm has been completed and now we are in the process of completing the renovation of the Milsap Dorm.  Hopefully, Milsap will be completed in late October.  Both dorms will have an elevator and a computer lab with LAN/internet access. 

From time to time, the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) visits DSB to monitor and review its programs.  In the past, they visited annually.  The monitoring schedule has changed so they will be visiting NC every 3rd year. 

Consumer Advocacy and Advisory Committee—Gary Ray

Mr. Gary Ray reported on the Consumer Advocacy and Advisory Committee held yesterday.  Mr. Ray is now the Chair of the Consumer Advocacy and Advisory Committee and yesterday was his first meeting in that role. 

At yesterday’s meeting, a member or a representative from each entity was present.  Mr. Ray is going to determine what constitutes a quorum and who may vote at the CAAC meetings as there has been a little confusion in the past. Mr. Ray looks forward to the Consumer Advocacy and Advisory Committee working with the Commission for the Blind in the future. 

Professional Advisory Committee—Dr. Wiggins

The Professional Advisory Committee works with DSB in advising them on matters concerning rendering of professional services to its consumers. 

In the Medical Eye Care Program, the economic needs scales had been at 50% of the federal poverty level.  It is now at 125% of the federal poverty level. 

Old Business

Kellie Hightower-Spruill resigned from the Commission.  She represented the Community Rehabilitation Programs. 

New Business

None

Adjournment

 Following an adjournment motion by Kathy Crow, seconded by Eddie Weaver, and carried the Commission for the Blind meeting adjourned at 11:55 a.m.

 Respectfully Submitted,

 Graham Watt, Ph.D., Chair Commission for the Blind           
Debbie Jackson, Director Services f/t Blind

 

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